Alma Quintana and Cadie Chavez
With a $41.8 million budget and a staff of more than 500, the City of Phoenix Head Start Birth to Five Program has a massive need for professional staff development. The Phoenix Head Start serves more than 4,000 families in sprawling Maricopa County, Arizona. “Bringing professional development to our staff is a huge undertaking,” said Cadie Chavez, professional development specialist. That’s where the Region 9 Head Start Association plays an important role in supporting the Phoenix program. “We were able to connect our program with a learning management system through the Region 9 HSA,” said Chavez, who has been with the agency for more than 20 years and is herself a Head Start alumni. “I live it and breathe it and can’t see doing anything different!”
Chavez’s colleague, Alma Quintana, who is the Quality Assurance Manager, explained that an ongoing revamping of the organization’s professional development program came at the same time that the Region 9 HSA was working to develop an LMS (learning management system). Conversations with the Region 9 offices began over the Phoenix program’s needs in professional training. Then, staff members from Phoenix actually joined the R9HSA’s Professional Development committee.
“Once Region 9 found and partnered with a learning management system, we jumped on board,” Quintana said. “The legwork that needed to be done and that we were in the process of doing ourselves had already been done!” What’s more, Quintana said that belonging to the committee allowed Phoenix to be in the lead of providing input for what their staff wanted professional development to look like. Many of the Phoenix staff are taking advantage of Region 9’s training program to meet continuing education requirements.
Region 9’s LMS offers more 300 courses, and staff can study online at any time and on any device. Also supporting Phoenix’s professional development efforts is the Region 9 HSA’s Professional Development Network. Quintana explained, “They created a platform through Zoom where we can share information and strategies. We see how others implement ideas and collaborate. We have met twice already and are doing a book study right now. It’s nice because all of the people are in the same specialty area.” “Everyone on the network call shares trends, needs, strengths,” Chavez added. “So it’s great to have Region 9 (looking out for us) to meet those needs.”
Both Chavez and Quintana also credit the Region 9 Head Start Association with developing educational training focused on children ages birth to three through the First 1,000 Days! Early Head Start Conference. This conference was launched in 2019 and went virtual and online in 2020. “Previously, there wasn’t a whole lot of content available, and we have a fairly new program,” Chavez explained, noting Phoenix Head Start was trying to provide professional development specifically focused on our home visiting staff and in 2020, the conference offered specific breakout
Both Chavez and Quintana also applaud the R9HSA’s work on keeping people up to date about the pandemic and specifically the Covid-19 vaccine. “Having doctors available to provide seminars for family and staff has helped to decrease worries and anxieties about the pandemic,” Chavez said. “Region 9 has done a really good job.”
I have been to management workshops, not leadership training. This has totally changed my perspective and encouraged me to propel forward in developing my skills.
I am honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Region 9 Head Start Association’s Legacy Scholarship. The scholarship helped me get one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a Head Start Director.
I took part in The disproportionate impact of COVID 19, and how to provide “real” support for black/brown children and families and I just want to say this was an amazing webinar. I hope we can look forward to further conversation on this topic.
Thank you so much for making events like this! I really enjoyed and learned so much teaching strategies to implement STEM in the classroom.
The HR Network was an excellent opportunity to network and learn the best practices from other HR professionals within Head Start programs. You will be amazed by the level of talent and experience of the participants.
The Summer Camp training was powerful and inspiring! Each presenter was very engaging, it’s hard to even pick a favorite session!
The Leadership Challenge training was very relevant to my work as a Head Start leader! Great facilitation; stayed with the program yet allowed time for individual and small group reflections.
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